Five Tips for Working with Photoshop on the Cintiq

Five Tips for Working with Photoshop on the Cintiq

Rhys Bonahoom, senior designer at San Francisco-based design studio Ammunition, brought his experience in automotive design to consumer products to create the iconic feel of the Beats by Dre headphones. Bonahoom’s vision is complemented by his skills with digital tools. We asked for his tips for design using Photoshop and the Wacom Cintiq. Read on for his five tips.

Set any sketch document to a size and resolution that will allow it to stand up to both editing changes and printing requirements. For initial sketching, Bonahoom sets up an 11 in. x 17 in document at 200 dpi. For later sketches, he sets the same size document at 300 dpi. This will allow enough resolution to get a high-quality image on a standard print size.

Lock down initial layers and sketch on top, creating a different layer for each part of the sketch.

Develop a standard way of organizing and grouping layers so you can easily revert to earlier versions, if needed. Set your Cintiq stylus with two control functions: "Control Z" (revert) for the button at your index finger and "right click" for the second button, which quickly accesses drop-down menus.

Redial the accuracy of the stylus to a very fine point that vectors out a few pixels from the stylus' actual point. "For me, it's more important to line up my mark with where the stylus is pointing rather than where it is actually touching," Bonahoom said. "This way, the line is in view at all times."

For right-handed artists, Bonahoom suggested turning off the right-side Express Keys to avoid accidentally brushing up against them while sketching. He sets the Cintiq’s left-hand Express Keys to Delete, Space Bar and Right Click. He added that one of the great advantages of the Cintiq is that each individual can customize the Express Keys for their own preferences.

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